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49 Up (Not Rated)

Director: Michael Apted. With Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield, Andrew Brackfield, John Brisby, Suzanne Dewey. (180 min., shown in two parts.)

This is the seventh documentary in the series that began 42 years ago by Britain's Granada Television, inspired by the Jesuit maxim, "Give me the child until he is 7 and I will give you the man." Seven-year-old boys and girls from all economic strata were interviewed about their lives. Every seven years since, director Michael Apted, a researcher on the initial project, has followed up with a documentary on the participants, now age 49. The passage of time has rarely been more forcefully conveyed in a movie, as we see clips of the interviewees not only from today but also at seven-year intervals from the past. But the sheer bulkiness of the enterprise has made the "Up" series increasingly unwieldly. So much time is spent playing catch-up with these people that we get no more than a cursory overview of their present condition. Grade: B+
– Peter Rainer

Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner (Not Rated)

Director: Freida Lee Mock. With Harrison Chad, Tony Kushner, Maurice Sendak. (102 min.)

More of a mash note than an even-handed documentary, "Wrestling with Angels" trails playwright Kushner around as he revisits his Louisiana hometown, and rehearses his musical "Caroline, or Change" and the children's Holocaust opera "Brundibar" he translated for the Maurice Sendak production. He also visits Mike Nichols on the set of HBO's "Angels in America." Kushner's proactive stance on gay rights is prominently aired and, to a lesser extent, so are his musings on the Arab-Israeli situation. His participation in the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's controversial "Munich" did not make it into the film. Grade: B
– P.R.

Still in Release
Open Season (PG)

Director: Roger Allers, Jill Culton. With Ashton Kutcher, Martin Lawrence, Debra Messing. (99 min.)

The trouble with baby bears is that they grow up. Ranger Beth (voiced by Messing) has rescued Boog, an orphaned cub, raising him in her garage. Now Boog (Lawrence) is a full-size grizzly, and nothing can keep him out of the convenience store. The sheriff orders him back to the wild – just as hunting season is about to begin. Boog acquires a pint-sized sidekick, Elliot the deer (Kutcher), and they lead the other animals in a scheme to rid their turf of hunters. It's wittily written and animated, but the lovely painted backdrops look decidedly 2-D in the 3-D version. Grade: B–
– M.K. Terrell

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